March 28th, 2011

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Everyone's Talking About E-Publishing By Authors

I've been seeing a growing buzz about the new self publishing trend: e-books. Unlike the past when vanity publishers ripped you off, you can now self publish in a variety of electronic formats. Some people are doing really well and others, not so much. It turns out that e-publishing is pretty much like regular publishing in that regard. One advantage I do see in self publishing is that you'll never have orphaned books like The Architect of Sleep. That book was the first in a series that the publisher opted not to continue--and won't let go until their rights expire. The author, Steven Boyett, was plunged into limbo and had to keep explaining to eager fans why the story was stalled on a cliffhanger. http://www.steveboy.com/biblio.html

Another series I've been reading stalled on book 4 and the publisher is noncommittal about book 5 even though a movie is in the works for book 1.

So at least a writer wouldn't be stuck with that hell. Or with being pressured to accept the kinds of slinky scantily clad females on book covers that are all the rage now.

But taking on everything a publisher does is a lot for most introverted writers to handle. And how much future writing can you get done when you're busy handling all of the marketing tasks for the current one(s)?

Here are a variety of perspectives on self publishing, keeping in mind that writers may choose it for different reasons.

Successful self-publisher Amanda Hocking has a few things to say about e-publishing.

An agent talks about winning the publishing lottery being the same with either self publishing or traditional publishing.

Roxane Gay, writer and professor, has still another view of self publishing, one that's ruffled a few feathers.

[One of those feathers belonging to Nick Mamatas, resulting in an exchange between the two. Nick is himself an author and teaches writing classes. (As an aside, he was one of the early reporters of the Cooks Source plagiarism scandal.)]

Roxane followed up her original post with a guest post about self publishing by Mary Maddox.

This dialog between writers Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath is being linked to in several of the posts about self-publishing.

I think that in certain contexts, e-publishing is great for novella length works if you are already publishing traditionally and building a name for yourself. In that vein, author Sarah Katherine Lewis (Indecent, Sex and Bacon) recently published her snarky and insightful rehab diary in .pdf format which can be converted for Kindle and other e-formats. I recommend it and will be reviewing it soon.

I suspect that an industry will grow up around e-publishing that caters to authors looking to farm out some of the marketing and other tasks associated with it. The more best-sellers that arise out of e-publishing, the more it will be taken seriously.

By the way, if you're thinking about e-publishing, Ms. Lewis, mentioned above, is also an editor. You can contact her via her website.

Calibre e-book management was recommended to me for converting to various e-book formats, including those used on readers like Kindle.

ETA: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/03/self-publishing-vs-traditional.html

http://indiereader.com/2011/03/locke-stock-and-barrels-of-ebook-sales/

http://quixoticprod.blogspot.com/2011/02/maybe-mayans-were-rightbut-they-were.html

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/01/response-to-richard-curtis.html

https://www.createspace.com/

http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2011/03/27/what-is-the-right-price-of-a-book-print-or-digital-part-two/

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/guest-post-by-mark-coker-creator-of.html

http://yourepublished.blogspot.com/2010/11/youre-published.html

http://indiereader.com/2011/03/locke-stock-and-barrels-of-ebook-sales/

ETA2: http://yuki-onna.livejournal.com/636473.html about the pricing of e-books and arguing against the 99 cent iTunes model (which I think is insulting for full length books but maybe introductory short stories as a marketing tool would be fine at that price)
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Happy Birthday to Zaman!

♥´´¯`•.¸¸.ღƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ LOVE ღ♥'•.¸`'•.¸*♥ ღ✿Happy Birthday to my lovely granddaughter, Ms. Zaman Athena Alsaad, who is 2 years old today. She shares this important day with her deceased great-grandma, Bonnie.♥´´¯`•.¸¸.ღƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ LOVE ღ♥'•.¸`'•.¸*♥ ღ✿
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Saving One Writer At A Time

During my odyssey through blog posts and articles on self-publishing via the latest e-book technology, I ran across a story that particularly interested me. With my own history of suicide attempts and depression I was saddened and then delighted when a writer's despair turned to hope. Kiana Davenport, living in Hawaii, was near the end of her ability to cope with the effects of the recession on her writing career as well as prospects for any other type of job. Unemployment is staggering in her area. Yet she is a very talented writer, an award-winner. She was literally tying up all the loose ends of her life, planning her suicide and almost ready to go when a friend told her she MUST read about Joe Konrath and his advice to self-publishers.

The rest of the story is contained in her email to him, posted on his blog, of which I'll include a small bit:

You were my epiphany. You were telling me there was life beyond print publishing. In fact a WHOLE NEW WORLD in digital. You led me to the revolution. I started reading your books. So far I have loved SHOT OF TEQUILA and TRUCK STOP. They're tough, fast-paced and humorous, and now and then poetic. I'm still reading. Most importantly, within one month, following your example, I had uploaded onto Kindle my first indie ebook, HOUSE OF SKIN - PRIZE-WINNING STORIES by Kiana Davenport. All the stories I could never get published in NY as a collection. I kept my price low as you suggested, $1.99. Reader reviews have all been 5 stars.

I am trying to spread the word--already Joe's campaign to raise her ranking at Amazon has had great results, a testimony to writers wanting to help other writers. I'm also enjoying many of the comments on his post and the resources mentioned there. I've done a lot of bookmarking today!

House of Skin

I also want to once again post a link to a discussion of writers and depression: http://maantren.blogspot.com/2009/03/writing-and-depression-kiwiburger.html